UPGro Science: The programme has made a substantial contribution to evidence and data on African groundwater, its use and potential [S1]

  • As of mid July 2020, UPGro researchers have published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers directly, and used elements of UPGro work or partnerships to publish a further 60.
  • 1 paper published in Nature and 2 in Nature Communications.
  • Substantial interdisciplinary primary data collected from across 7 African countries and will be made available through the NERC national data centre (after embargo period)
  • By mid-July 2020, UPGro journal papers had been cited in more than 1,400 third-party academic papers and numerous influential national and international reports on water, climate and international development.
  • 46% of papers had women as first or second author, 27% had African first or second authors.
  • 45% of papers were interdisciplinary – bringing social and physical science together to generate policy-relevant evidence.
Main Science Findings:
  • Groundwater, Poverty and Vulnerability: Links between groundwater access and poverty are complex and sensitive to context [S2]
  • Groundwater and Economic Development:  Groundwater can de-risk economic growth [S3]
  • Groundwater Resources, Recharge and Climate Resilience: improved understanding of African (and Tropical) recharge processes. Climate change may enhance groundwater recharge in arid and semi-arid areas, presenting opportunities for long-term management as part of national climate adaptation strategies. [S4]
  • Groundwater Resources, Recharge and Climate Resilience: investment in local investigations, mapping and monitoring unlocks economic potential and resilience [S5]
  • Groundwater Resources, Recharge and Climate Resilience: no substantial decline in the volume of water stored in the major aquifer basins over the last 15 years, but there major localised risk areas. [S6]
  • Groundwater Quality: Bacteriological contamination of groundwater is likely to be a significant barrier to achieving safely managed water services under SDG6, but this can be tackled by improved construction practices. [S7]
  • Groundwater Quality:  Testing of shallow groundwater in urban areas confirmed widespread contamination and health risks, and some contaminants not previously detected or tested for. New sensor methods developed. [S8]
  • Rural Water Services: New methods of water point functionality developed and tested [S9]
  • Rural Water Services: Affordable maintenance and repair are one of the main predictors of borehole functionality, highlighting the need for effective management models to address poor functionality. [S10]
  • Agriculture & Livelihoods: Access to groundwater is associated with improved agricultural production, reduced agricultural risk, and improved livelihoods [S11]
  • Agriculture & Livelihoods: Knowledge sharing approaches, such as RAINWATCH and Farmer Radio, can be used to increase resilience by communicating climate and groundwater forecasts with farmers [S12]
  • Governance and Institutions: Participatory, community-led approaches, such as Transition Management, can provide new and collaborative ways of using and managing urban groundwater. [S13]
  • Governance and Institutions: Numerical groundwater models can be used to assess the sustainability of different groundwater scenarios to inform groundwater management and planning. [S14]
References and further information


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